Showing posts from November 21, 2015

Metadata Surveillance Didn’t Stop the Paris Attacks

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[And yet intelligence officials and politicians are now saying it could have. Plainly they’re wrong. *RON*]
By Marcy Wheeler, Slate, 16 November 2015.

Since terrorists struck Paris last Friday night, the debate over whether encryption prevents intelligence services from stopping attacks has reignited. The New York Times and Yahoo reported on vague claims that the terrorists’ use of encryption stymied investigators who might have thwarted their plans. CIA Director John Brennan made equally vague comments Monday morning, warning that thanks to the privacy protections of the post-Snowden era, it is now “much more challenging” for intelligence agencies to find terrorists. Jeb Bush piled on, saying that the United States needs to restore its program collecting metadata on U.S. phone calls, even though that program won’t be shut down until the end of this month.

Following a terrorism incident as shocking as the Paris attacks, it is no surprise that poli…

Anonymous Takes Down 5,500 ISIS Accounts, 24 Hours After ISIS Called Them “Idiots”

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[Go get 'em - don't piss off Anonymous! Anonymous has targeted ISIS in the past, dismantling 149 Islamic State websites so far this year. *RON*]
By Jay SyrmopoulosThe Free Thought Project / AlterNet, 21 November 2015

Paris, France – The Anonymous hacking collective has reportedly taken down over 5,500 Twitter accounts purported to belong to Islamic State members following their declaration of “total war” on the terrorist group after the Paris attacks.
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after hacktivist group warned of a coordinated and targeted attack against the Islamic State in the wake of the deadly wave of terror attacks across Paris.

The Right's Anti-Minimum-Wage Arguments Have Pretty Much Stayed the Same for 80 Years

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[Who knew that the minimum wage caused the fall of the Roman Empire? :-) "Rome 2,000 years ago, fell because the government began fixing the prices of services and commodities …We, however, know what has always happened when governments have tried to superintend the industry of private persons. The final result has always been distress, misery, and despair." *RON*]

By Branko Marcetic, In These Times / TruthOut, 21 November 2015

Over the past year, the campaign to raise the minimum wage has been steadily accumulating prominence, political allies and, most importantly, successes. Not surprisingly, it has also occasioned a pushback from conservative politicians and columnists who view its increase as a misguided, self-defeating folly.

The main points of the conservative argument against raising the minimum wage tend to be as follows: Increasing it would lead businesses to either raise prices or fire workers (or both) in order to deal with…

Congressman: Syrian Refugees Are Just Looking For A ‘Paid Vacation’

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["On average, over 120 people are killed daily in Syria. That’s approximately the same number of people killed in the recent Paris rampage, except in Syria, it recurs each day and again the next, without pause, for the past four and a half years." *RON*]

By Scott Keyes, Think Progress, 21 November 2015
Rather than escaping a bloody civil war, a United States congressman suggested that Syrian refugees are coming to the U.S. for free vacations.

In an appearance on the Dale Jackson Show on Friday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) discussed the Syrian crisis and President Obama’s pledge to shelter 10,000 refugees.

Instead of viewing refugees as people fleeing the violence that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, Brooks saw a host of incoming welfare queens intent on taking advantage of Americans’ generosity.

“We’re paying them about $15,000 a year in free health care, free food, free shelter, free clothing, free transportation,” Brooks said. “That answe…

FIFA ethics report calls for sanctions against Blatter, Platini

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[Will all this be enough of a housecleaning for FIFA to shake its reputation as the world's most corrupt sports organization? *RON*]
By Brian Homewood, Reuters, 21 November 2015

FIFA ethics investigators called on Saturday for sanctions against president Sepp Blatter and European soccer boss Michel Platini, dealing a fresh blow to Platini's bid to succeed Blatter as head of world soccer's governing body.

Both men were suspended from their posts for 90 days on Oct. 8 pending a full investigation, engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as the sport faces criminal probes in Switzerland and the United States.

The investigatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee - acting independently of the organization's leadership - said on Saturday it had completed its inquiry, but did not say why it was recommending sanctions nor what those sanctions should be.

Its report will now be passed to the committee's adjudicatory chamber, which w…

Ten ways to build community between Muslims and non-Muslims

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[Some good, constructive ideas from the people at Share them with your friends. *RON*]
By Rabble Staff,, 20 November 2015

Anti-Muslim harrassment and violence has increased in Canada since the attacks in Paris last Friday. Following that attack many Muslims have faced threats and violent acts. At the same time, many people are working to create stronger links of peace and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims across the country.

Early this week, one Ottawa woman decided she wanted to send a message that she is saddened by the way events in Paris are affecting people she knows. So she wrote the following card to her local grocers, who are Muslim:

Q & A: Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate, says economic inequality is a choice

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[I completely missed hearing that he was in Vancouver. 'The rules of the market economy had been written to serve the interests of the one per cent,' says Stiglitz. Click here to listen to the entire 10 minute interview. *RON*]
By The Early Edition, CBC News, 19 November 2015

   Economist Joseph Stiglitz on income inequality 10:42

You're probably familiar with the phrase 'the one per cent,' which became forever associated — alongside 'the 99 per cent' — with Occupy Wall Street's protests against economic inequality in fall 2011.

But did you know 'the one per cent' first appeared in a Vanity Fair article written by Nobel-prize winner, Joseph Stiglitz, earlier that summer?

Texas Board of Education Refuses To Allow Professors To Fact-Check Textbooks

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[Texan ayatollahs. "Because I choose to reject reality and replace it with my fantasies." The problem is that, for some reason, Texas is very influential with the national publishers of curriculum textbooks. It would be interesting to find out why this is. *RON*]

By Casey Quinlan, Think Progress, 19 November 2015
Conservative members of the Texas Board of Education don’t want to create a group of state university professors to fact-check students’ textbooks for potential errors, despite recent controversies over factually inaccurate information about slavery in schools’ educational materials.

Currently, only the publisher and public have the responsibility to fact-check. The Republican vice chairman of the board made the proposal to expand the process to professors.

This suggestion comes after a Houston mother and doctoral candidate, Roni Dean-Burren, recently took to social media when she discovered her son’s McGraw-Hill textbook referen…